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Stand with Ukraine

My father saw action in World War Two as an 18-year-old tank driver. He very rarely spoke about his experiences, but I know they scarred him deeply. He suffered with poor mental health for the rest of his life, living to the grand age of 94. As a parent, I have hoped my children would never hear the words ‘World War Three’. It frightens me just to write them down. Yet here we are in 2022, reading those words in the media and witnessing a dreadful war in Europe, just a short flight away.

I am still trying to comprehend the horror of what is taking place in Ukraine and what my response should be. I know I should pray, but how? I know I should resist evil and love my enemies, but how? Should I protest? Should I drive to Poland with a van full of supplies? Is it better to stay home and send money? Should I offer a room in my house?

In this newsletter I have provided links to various sites and resources that may help if you are struggling with similar questions. I am not suggesting these as the best organisations to go to, or the most creative resources, they are simply the things I have come across. But I hope they may be useful.

In trying to manage my thoughts, I found the following reflection helpful.

As followers of Christ we have a vision for a new kind of society, where peace and justice prevail. Jesus called it the Kingdom of God, and contrary to all appearances he said you could reach out and almost touch it. We have a word to describe what happens when you try to do this - it’s called prayer.
Prayer is a legitimate Christian response to the war in Ukraine. So is action: we are being called to humanitarian support, an openness to refugees, a willingness to endure the economic cost of sanctions, public demonstration and private witness.
This is also a moment for personal honesty. We must attend to all those little wars which make up the fabric of our everyday lives, those micro aggressions where we choose to put our own desires before the needs of others. It is the accumulation of those little wars that creates the big war. All of us bear some responsibility.
After 9/11, the argument raged about how we could defeat terror, and a simple Christian, listening to the litany of military experts talking about bombing this and destroying that and hitting at the heart of the other, said: the only way to defeat terror is to out-imagine it.
That is our task in prayer, word and action, because ultimately war is a failure of imagination and the primacy of love.
Rt Revd Adrian Newman
CUF Bishop in Residence
February 2022